Oplan PAILAW is a project of the City Government of General Santos that aims to energize far-flung barangays and tribal communities. Especially those that have problems negotiating with power distributors, obtaining permits, and documentation, and those that cannot afford expensive fees. It was a long-forgotten program that was given limited implementation and was revitalized in 2013 and strengthened by the current City Government of General Santos and was coupled with a strong partnership with local power distributors. The city government provided the leadership, governance framework, coordination, capacity building, and the private partners provided the distribution and installation of electricity.

Background and Problem

Areas that have no electricity in General Santos City are placed at a disadvantage because no electricity means, no power, no light, and fewer opportunities. Crimes are up because of dark streets, education rate is down because kids cannot study at home and schools are not comfortable places of learning, economic activities are limited to industries that only used manual labor, and because of wide usage of candles and “lamparas,” and in extreme cases illegal connections, fire incidence in these areas are very high according to the Bureau of Fire Protection. Because the program was poorly implemented by previous administrations, there was a lack of LGU capability in the form of implementing rules and regulations, structure to bring the objectives and positive effects of the program to the ground, and necessary training for the people involved.

Solution and Impact

The theory behind the Oplan PAILAW’s successful implementation is to bring the different communities, the private sector, and the government together towards one common purpose and goal. Through community empowerment, Oplan PAILAW can empower communities by making them realize that they can organize themselves and comply as a community with application and pre-screening requirements for enrollment in the program. Purok leaders who have long given up on the idea of energizing their communities are now conducting regular workshops on enrollment in the program, energy conservation, and disaster risk and management. Purok leaders help accredit electricians, in accordance with the provisions in the Executive Orders to ensure safety and the proper installation of electrical wirings. They serve as volunteers to help prepare their communities for the electrical installation and assisted SOCOTECO in the construction of poles. They work together to maintain cleanliness and protection in their own barangays. There are very few examples of a successful PPP between a local government and a power provider. The Pailaw project of the General Santos City Government is a pioneer in this respect. The program is innovative in terms of how the city government negotiated with SOCOTECO to provide service to the poor with a win-win result. Poor families were helped, costs of installation were frontloaded by the firm and recovered later through a painless installment scheme. The processes through which the city organized the informal settlers and made them comply with their responsibilities is a model on how cooperation with a possible hostile community can be generated. The methods in streamlining procedures in beneficiary identification, accreditation, processing of permits, and delivery of the service are innovative.


This is an Entry to the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards


Pailaw: Lights for Life Project


City Government of General Santos